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In the course of his campaign, Obama inspired millions of Americans - young and old, rich and poor, rural and urban, and from every racial and ethnic background. When Obama walked into the room. . The crowd was transfixed (Tufankjuan, 2008). The goal, of course, is that in politics, as well as society, race plays no part in the decision process. Thanks to previous Civil Rights advocates, and people like Jesse Jackson, Obama was not the first minority to attempt a high political seat. This is even more important when one realizes the election was not won on race, but on a combination of issues appropriate focus on sections of the electorate in which his message resonated (Metzler, 2008).
Political Advertising and Propaganda: Political advertising and social rhetoric are certainly not new to the arena of campaigns. Politicians in Ancient Greece and Rome used pamphlets, orations, and their own brand of social networks to decry their opponents. In fact, the 20th century is far more civil in terms of rhetoric that many presidential elections of the past.
However, the goal of political advertising is, of course, to persuade, and in the modern era how to quickly get the salient information to the public in the least amount of time. Typically, a high level of media, particularly television, exposure leads to a high level of advertising exposure, which in turn leads to a high effect toward candidate veracity (Franz, 2007). Thus, there are four main aims of political advertising: 1) to influence issues, giving information, simplifying data, etc.; 2) showing the candidates at work with the public, bringing the personality of the candidate into the living room; 3) building image and accessibility; 4) information about the differences between candidate and opponent (Roberts, 1997).
Primaries and Campaign Struggles - From the start, Senator John McCain was the proposed Republican Candidate for 2008, but it was not so clear for the Democrats. At the start of the year, support for Barack Obama began rising in the polls, passing Clinton for first place in Iowa; Obama ended up winning the Iowa caucus, with John Edwards coming in second and Clinton in third. Obama became the new front-runner in New Hampshire when his poll numbers skyrocketed after his victory in Iowa had her trailing Obama for a few days up to the primary date, after his poll numbers skyrocketed at the end of December 2007. Obama carried Super Tuesday, but Clinton won Ohio and Rhode Island, as well as the primary in Texas. In April, Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary. Yet by June, after a 17-month long campaign against Clinton, Obama held a wide lead in the number of states, while Clinton had majorities in the larger states. Because Democratic state delegate contests are decided by a form of proportional representation and popular vote number were so close, the contest continued into June. However, with the help of multiple super delegate endorsements, Obama became the first African-American to win the nomination of a major political party (Price, 2008).
Race and the Obama Campaign -- Some naturally ask the question of whether race played a role in Obama's election. This has also been coupled with the idea that it was social networking that had a more prominent effect than any previous election. Furthermore, the uniqueness and significance of the Obama election changed forever the construct of communication structures with the electorate. There have been many charismatic political candidates, but until this election, none were versed enough, or perhaps comfortable, to utilize the burgeoning number of social networks to reach out to constituents of all ages, to personally communicate with them via the technology of the internet, and to utilize these methods to change the manner in which he was able to confront his detractors, answer questions, and respond to events in an almost real-time manner (Fergus, 2009).
Management of diversity and diverse groups is also an important part of group dynamics, and remains an important part of the Obama administration. Clearly, since 1950 the population in the United States has grown more and more diverse. In 2005, for instance, the Census Bureau estimated that people of color will make up over 30% of the population, and that ethnically diverse groups over 45%. In some geographic areas of the country this percentage will be even higher, thus it makes sense for organizations to understand and actively address the needs of a culturally diverse workplace. The concept of managing diversity through social networks was also central to the Obama campaign; his was a campaign based on diversity; his was a viewpoint based on diversity. While he sees himself as a Black American, he does not define his nature as that of one vulture vs. another -- and it was this key concept of defining and utilizing the power of diversity within social networking that was critical to success in many areas of the country (Barnes, 2009).
The 2008 presidential candidates regularly used social networks to communicate directly with the networks, and the Obama campaign went further by having custom, online social networking tools built directly into their campaign websites (TechPresident.com). It is easy to see that the use of this new technology might be explained in a number of different ways: imitation, genuine social interest, part of the media flux, or a unique understanding of the way that younger minds look to these sites for validation. Whatever the reason, the 2008 campaigns perceived SNSs as a direct, unfiltered access point to the electorate. Unlike traditional news media in which "gatekeeping" filters out most candidates' access and notoriously negative news packages outnumber politicians' positive aspects (Johnson, D., 2009), SNSs enabled candidates to directly approach their electorate, especially young voters, admittedly a marginalized but substantively important group that would critically affect the outcome of the campaign (Kaye, 2009).
The success of the Obama campaign in utilizing SNSs may also be the result, not only of his message and personality, but because Chris Hughes, one of the four founders of Facebook, left the company in 2007 to specifically work on the Obama New Media Campaign. (Stelter, 2008). "Technology has always been used as a net to capture people in a campaign or cause, but not to organize," says Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. "Chris saw what was possible before anyone else." Hughes built something the candidate said he wanted but didn't yet know was possible: a virtual mechanism for scaling and supporting community action. Then that community turned around and elected his boss president. "I still can't quite wrap my mind around it," Hughes says. (McGirt, 2009).
Obama's campaign echoed, for many, the campaign of John F. Kennedy -- his youth, vivacity, and spirit for change politically, and his use of a new medium in a new way that will forever change political campaigns. For Kennedy, it was television; for Obama, the Internet. "Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not be president. Were it not for the Internet, Barack Obama would not have been the nominee" (Arianna Huffington in Schiffman, 2009). Each time the racial card came up in the campaign, Obama's staff downplayed it -- each time he was asked, Obama remarked to the effect -- this isn't about race, it's about change" (Lum, 2009).
In the past, for a candidate to do what Obama did would have required an army of volunteers and paid organizers, not to mention months and months of preparation and action. Instead, Obama used the Internet to organize his supporters efficiently, effectively, and in a way that made each feel special. "The tools changed between 2004 and 2008. Barack Obama won every single caucus state that matters, and he did it because of those tools, because he was able to move thousands of people to organize." Additionally, Obama was fiscally smart, he took advantage of YouTube for free advertising, and they were likely more effective because viewers chose to watch them instead of being forced during a commercial break, "The campaign's office stuff they created for YouTube was watched for 14.5 million hours. To buy 14.5 million hours on broadcast TV is $47 million" (Howard Dean's campaign manager, Joe Trippi in Miller, 2008).
Obama's faith in the Internet, and constant exposure, helped him win more votes in the face of adversity. He was able to allow people to listen repeatedly to his own words, over-and-over, for example his speech on race which, by election time, had been viewed almost 7 million times.
It was this change, and Obama's willingness to take a chance and allow himself to be so visible (interactive website, own YouTube Station, etc.), for all to see, that also changed the way tactics will be written for future elections (Johnson, 2009).
Thus, if there was ever a doubt about the power of the new media, the 2008 Obama campaign, and his Administration's continued use of these tools, completely dispels the notion that it can ever be…[continue]
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Appleman E.M. (2007). The Evolving Field. Online. Internet. Avail: http://www.gwu.edu/~action/2008/cands08txt.html. Info Acc: 27 October 2007 AFL-CIO (2007). Working Family Issues. Online. Internet. Avail: http://www.aflcio.org/issues/politics/issues.cfm.Info Acc: 27 October 2007 Bush, G.W. (2004) Victory Speech. Online. Internet. Avail: http://www.presidentialrhetoric.com/campaign/speeches/bush_nov3.html. Info Acc: 27 October 2007 Congress.org (2007) Election 2007: Candidates and Information. Online. Internet. Avail: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/e4/.Info Acc: 27 October 2007 Editorial. (2007) the Presidential Candidates on Iraq. The New York Times Oct 2007. The Green Papers (2006) 2006 Primary, Runoff and Midterm